Google drops appeal against 500 mn euro fine by French regulator

London, June 21 (IANS) The French competition watchdog on Tuesday said it has accepted the commitments from Google to settle the 500 million euro antitrust news licensing fine regarding paying local news publishers for displaying copyrighted content.

France hit Google with a fine of 500 million in July last year euros after finding breaches in how it negotiated with publishers to remunerate them for reuse of their content.

Google offered a first series of commitments in December 2021, which were scrutinised and last month, the tech giant submitted new commitments to the concerns raised by the French Competition Authority.

The French regulator said that it has decided to accept those commitments by Google.

“After issuing interim measures in April 2020 and then sanctioning Google in July 2021 for 500 million euros for non-compliance with these measures, the Authority welcomes the commitments made by Google,” said Benoit Coeure, President of the French Competition Authority.

“For the first time in Europe, the commitments made by Google provide a dynamic framework for negotiation and sharing of the necessary information for years to come,” Coeure added.

Sebastien Missoffe, Country Manager and VP, Google France, said in a blog post that the French Competition Authority has approved “our commitments which will govern the way these negotiations will be conducted in France in the next years”.

“That includes appointing an independent trustee to monitor progress. This illustrates our willingness to move forward with the remuneration of publishers’ neighbouring rights,” Missoffe noted.

Google said that it is determined to contribute to the news ecosystem, and will continue to work on securing more agreements with eligible French publishers and news agencies to further support journalism in France.

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